Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

ICC/Africa: Feb '08

IWPR reporters expand range of international justice output.

February was a big month for IWPR’s Africa output, with a widening of the variety of stories on international justice and the International Criminal Court related to Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan.

The growing mix of stories included commentary and opinion from Congolese observers on the need for an improved judiciary, as well as in-depth looks at trial delays and related concerns for Congo militia leaders now in international custody.

In addition, IWPR Africa continues to cover the unfolding events surrounding the peace talks between the government of Uganda and the ICC-indicted leaders of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army with contributors based in Juba, South Sudan; Kamapla, Uganda.

Although three former Congolese militia leaders are currently in ICC custody in The Hague, IWPR revealed that a number of concerns swirl around these cases. A trial delay for Thomas Lubanga, which will be the ICC’s first, has been attributed to a number of problems, and may result in portions of the trial being held in the Congo.

In addition, Congolese reporter Eddy Isango in Kinshasa used the dramatic reversal in the conviction of a former militia leader to highlight problems in the DRC’s judicial system, which have opened the door for the ICC’s interventions there.

Likewise, IWPR international justice reporter Katy Glassborow noted that legal questions, specifically double jeopardy, cloud the case of the ICC’s latest detainee, Mathieu Ngudjolo, who was formerly acquitted by Congolese courts on the same charges brought against him by the ICC.

In addition, IWPR contributor Jacques Khahorha of Goma, North Kivu, obtained an exclusive interview with the notorious Tutsi militia leader Laurent Nkunda, who the ICC says is under investigation for alleged war crimes. Nkunda claims his cause is just since he fights only to protect his fellow Tutsi Congolese.

IWPR-trained journalists in Kampala, Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi and Emma Mutaizibwa, wrote about concerns that LRA leader Joseph Kony may be planning and escape from the Congo to Sudan, and that this might negate successes of the recently completed peace talks in Juba and prospects for him to be brought to trial.

Meanwhile, Kony has hired new lawyers who vow they will ask both the ICC and the United Nations Security Council to drop or suspend the charges against him, as was revealed in an exclusive interview with one of the lawyers by IWPR-trained journalist Henry Wasswa in Kampala.

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